Breaking free from controlling people


Photo by Engin Akyurt

I’m sure that we have all met some controlling persons in our journey of life. For some, we may not have seen them coming until it was too late! They are the ones who are quick to point out what’s wrong about everything, people, your friends, your family, your hobbies, your job, etc. And it can be done in very subtle ways, in the form of suggestion, advice, help or even jokes. Little by little, they seem to be interfering too much, and before you even realize it, they have taken over your life.

You can’t seem to make a decision without consulting them first, even for small, insignificant ones.

You start to be self-conscious and doubt your judgment.

You feel guilty saying no to them because they have done so so much for you. You think that you are ungrateful if you dare refuse to do things their way.

You feel like you are walking on eggshells around them.

You become anxious about doing or saying something that may offend them.

You fear their reaction if you go against their will.

Your life becomes filled with stress and anxiety. You feel like you’ve lost your true self.

How can you break free?

  1. Be honest with yourself and acknowledge that you are being controlled. Make a list if you need to. It will help you see clearly. Trust your gut.

  2. Don’t take it personally. Controlling people are insecure and may have other underlying issues. Unfortunately, as much as you may want to help them, you can’t ‘fix’ or ‘save’ them. They need to recognize that they have a problem and have the desire to overcome it. As long as they are in denial, they won’t change.

  3. Realize that this desire to control you doesn’t come from God and is not love. God loves you so much that He gave his only son Jesus to die for your sins. But He also gives you freedom of choice. You are free to either accept Jesus in your life or not. Love is not about control. 1 Corinthians 13:4(NLT) says that Love is patient and kind. Kindness is being considerate and respectful of your thoughts, ideas, and feelings. It doesn’t belittle. Love is patient when your mistakes and weaknesses are handled with grace and compassion. It doesn’t tear you down.

  4. Know that your value and worth come from God. What God says about you matters the most. You are beautifully and wonderfully created by God. (Psalms 139:14, NLT) You are lovable. You are precious (Isaiah 43:4, NLT). You deserve respect.

  5. Turn to God. Give Him all your worries and anxiety because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7, NLT) Ask Him to protect you. Proverbs 29:25, NLT says that fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety. God is a strong fortress. (Psalms 18:2, NLT)

  6. Forgive and pray for the controlling persons. Forgiveness will help heal your heart from anger and other negative emotions. Praying for them is vital because they are in darkness and can’t see the truth. So, pray that their eyes be opened, and they can be set free.

  7. Set healthy boundaries. You need to take care of yourself. Your mental, emotional, and physical well-being is your responsibility. So, hold your limits. Say no when you need to. Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person nor a selfish one who doesn’t love or care for others. Selfishness is being concerned excessively and exclusively with self, satisfying one’s desires at the expense of other person’s rights and freedom.

  8. Take some time to reflect on what you want for your life. Think for yourself- your desires, aspirations, and dreams. Ask God to show you. He will.

  9. Seek professional help if you need to and find people who can support and encourage you.

  10. Prepare for battle. Think about the consequences of you breaking free. Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. Stand your ground and remain strong as they will retaliate one way or another, now or later. But God is more powerful. Do not be afraid. Ask Him for strength, wisdom, and discernment.

Your life is at stake. You may think that it’s too late, but God is a God of Miracles. He is Almighty and will make a way where there seems to be no way. Put your hope and confidence in Him. He will deliver you.

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